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Barcelona to sign Antoine Griezmann; deal has $900M buyout clause

By
Alex Butler
French soccer star Antoine Griezmann (R) and Lionel Messi will be teammates after FC Barcelona paid Griezmann's release clause and pried him away from rival La Liga club Atletico Madrid. Photo by Felipe Trueba/EPA-EFE
French soccer star Antoine Griezmann (R) and Lionel Messi will be teammates after FC Barcelona paid Griezmann's release clause and pried him away from rival La Liga club Atletico Madrid. Photo by Felipe Trueba/EPA-EFE

July 12 (UPI) -- FC Barcelona will sign former Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann after paying for his release clause Friday. His new contract includes a $900 million buyout clause.

Barcelona paid $135.1 million to pry Griezmann away from the rival La Liga club. He will sign a five-year contract with Barcelona. Griezmann's new deal runs through June 30, 2024.

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Griezmann, 28, has been linked to Barcelona for years. He announced his departure from Atletico in May.

"I wanted to tell you that I've made the decision to leave, to experience different things and have new challenges," Griezmann told the Atletico website. "It's been very hard for me to take this path, but I fell that it's what I need.

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"I wanted to thank you for all the love you've given me in these five years, in which I've won my first important trophies with a club. They were incredible moments that I will always remember. The truth is you're in my heart."

Griezmann scored 133 goals in 256 games at Atletico. He rejected an offer to join Barcelona in 2018. The French soccer star began his senior career in 2009 with Real Sociedad, before joining Atletico in 2014.

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He also terminated his contract with Atletico on Friday.

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"Atl├ętico de Madrid considers that the deposited amount is insufficient to cover his buyout clause, since it is obvious that the agreement between the player and FC Barcelona was closed before the clause was reduced from 200 million euros to 120 euros," Atletico said in a news release.

"It was also prior to the date on which the clause was modified the communication that the player made on May 14 announcing his disassociation from the club.

"Atl├ętico de Madrid believes that the termination of the contract happened before the end of the last season due to facts, acts and demonstrations made by the player, and therefore has already initiated the procedures it has deemed appropriate to protect their rights and lawful interests."

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Griezmann will arrive Saturday in Barcelona. He will sign his contract Sunday. His presentation events can be watched on FCBarcelona.com and on Barca TV.

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